UPDATE: 2:37 pm, Monday, January 2nd, 2012: Facebook has issued a formal apology for removing the image from Dr. Gomperts’ page. The apology can be viewed by Dr. Gomperts’ friends on her facebook page.
According to a press release sent out by the organization Women on Waves, Facebook has deleted an image from the page of Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, a well-known abortion rights activist and the Director of Women on Waves – a charitable organization focused on women’s health and human rights.
The image consisted of text instructions of how to safely induce an abortion using medication.
Women on Waves’ mission is to protect maternal health by preventing unsafe abortions. Women on Waves sails a ship to waters outside of countries where abortion is illegal.
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On board the ship the medical staff provides sexual education and healthcare services. Early medical abortion (up to 6 1/2 weeks of pregnancy) can be provided safely, professionally and legally.
Applicability of national penal legislation, and also abortion law, extends only to territorial waters. Outside that 12-mile radius it is Dutch law that applies on board a ship sailing under the Dutch flag, which means that all Women on Waves activities are legal.
Women on Waves efforts draw much needed public attention to the consequences of unwanted pregnancy and unsafe, illegal abortion.
To date the ship has sailed to Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
Women on Waves also supported the launch of safe abortion hotlines in South Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
In 2005 it founded Women on Web, a telemedicine abortion service that provides medical abortions to women in countries where there is no access to safe abortion.
According to Women on Waves, by removing the picture Facebook is in gross violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Facebook has a social responsibility to guarantee human rights.
Dr. Gomperts reposted the screenshot of the Facebook censorship message with the picture. Other Facebook users have also been reporting that images that contain information about using or getting Misoprostol are being removed by Facebook.
Gomperts is asking all Facebook users that support abortion rights to repost the message on their page.